So you have made the decision to enroll in an X-ray tech school near Saraland AL so you can learn to be a radiologic technologist. But now that you have made a decision to enter the rewarding field of healthcare, how do you tackle selecting the ideal college and program so that you will receive the proper training to become a qualified professional? And since most states do require that radiology techs become licensed, depending on where you ultimately work you might need training to pass a licensing exam. So it's important that you research each of the X-ray technician schools you are considering in order to evaluate each program. Many potential students begin by looking for colleges or technical schools that are within commuting distance of their homes. Next, they check tuition and usually settle on the lowest cost. But while expense and location must be taken into consideration, there are additional critical qualifiers also. For example, you need to ask if the radiology tech schools are accredited, or if they sponsor internship programs. These inquiries and others you must ask the X-ray Tech schools you are evaluating are presented later in this post. But first, let's explore what a x-ray technician does and the degrees and training choices that are offered.
X-Ray Technician Job Description
There are several professional designations for x-ray techs (technicians or technologists). They may also be called radiologic technologists, radiologic technicians, radiology technicians or radiographers. Regardless of the name, they all have the identical primary job description, which is to use imaging machines to internally view patients for the objective of diagnosis and treatment. A number of radiologic technologists might also administer radiation therapy for treating cancer. Some opt to work as generalists, while others may choose a specialty, such as mammography. They may practice in Saraland AL hospitals, clinics, family practices or outpatient diagnostic imaging centers. The imaging technologies that an X-Ray technician may utilize include:
- Traditional and specialized X-Rays
- Computerized tomography (CT) or "CAT" scans
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Sonography or ultrasound
Radiographers have to maintain their equipment plus routinely assess its functionality and safety. They are also required to keep complete records of each of their diagnostic procedures. As medical practitioners, they are held to a high professional standard and code of conduct.
Radiology Tech Degrees Offered
The standard prerequisite for enrolling in a radiology tech school is to have earned a high school diploma or equivalent. Radiologic technologist students have the option to earn either an Associate Degree or a Bachelor's Degree. An Associate Degree, which is the most typical among techs, generally requires 18 months to two years to finish based upon the course load and program. A Bachelor's Degree will take longer at up to 4 years to finish and is more extensive in scope. The majority of students opt for a degree major in Radiography, but there are additional similar majors that may be acceptable as well. One thing to consider is that radiographer schools have a clinical training or lab component as a component of their curriculum. It may frequently be fulfilled by taking part in an internship or externship program which many colleges offer through local clinics and hospitals in Saraland AL or their region. After you have graduated from one of the degree programs, you must abide by any licensing or certification requirements in Alabama or the state you will be working as applicable.
Radiographer Certification and Licensing
After you have graduated from an x-ray technician school, based on the state where you will be practicing you may have to become licensed. Most states do require licensing, and their prerequisites differ so check with your state. Presently, all states that do require licensing will recognize The American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) certification exam for the licensing application, but several accept other options for testing also. Some states also call for certification as a component of the licensing procedure, if not it is optional. However, numerous healthcare employers favor hiring radiology techs that are certified so it may improve your career options in and around Saraland AL to become certified. ARRT's certification program involves graduation from an approved program in addition to a passing score on their comprehensive examination. ARRT also calls for re-certification every two years, which can be met with 24 credits of continuing ed, or by passing an examination.
Online Radiology Technologist Schools
As a part of any degree program, x-ray tech colleges will have practical or lab training included in their course of study. This is no different for online degree colleges. So while you can still obtain your online degree, a large amount of the training will be completed either in a college lab or in an internship off campus. Clinical training is usually carried out in Saraland AL family practices, medical clinics or hospitals in sponsorship with the colleges. But the online segment of the training can be attended in the privacy of your residence. Students who keep working while earning their degree often find that the online approach to learning is much more practical with their hectic schedules. Plus online schools are frequently less expensive than conventional alternatives. Along with lower tuition, expenses for commuting and study materials may be decreased as well. But just confirm that the online school you enroll in is accredited (more on the advantages of accreditation later). So if you are dedicated enough to learn with this less formalized type of training, then an online school may be the right choice for you.
What to Ask X Ray Tech Programs
When you have selected the type of degree that you would like to earn, you can initiate the process of looking for and assessing x-ray tech schools near Saraland AL. You will also need to determine if you want to attend classes online or drive to a nearby campus. If you choose the latter, then of course the location of the college will be relevant. The price of tuition and supplementary expenditures will be a determining factor also. But in addition to location and cost, what more should you factor in when comparing schools? Well, you need to ask if the schools are accredited, and if they sponsor externship or internship programs. To help you uncover some of these important details prior to making your decision, we have assembled a list of questions that you need to ask the colleges you are considering.
Are the X-Ray Technician Programs Accredited? Most radiology technician schools have received some type of accreditation, whether national or regional. Nevertheless, it's still important to verify that the program and school are accredited. Among the most highly regarded accrediting agencies in the field of radiology is the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT). Programs obtaining accreditation from the JRCERT have gone through an extensive assessment of their teachers and educational materials. If the program is online it might also receive accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. All accrediting organizations should be recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council on Higher Education Accreditation. Besides guaranteeing a quality education, accreditation will also assist in acquiring financial assistance and student loans, which are many times not accessible for non-accredited colleges. Accreditation can also be a pre-requisite for licensing and certification as required. And a number of Saraland AL employers will only hire graduates of an accredited program for entry-level positions.
Are Internships Provided? Inquire if the xray technician colleges you are evaluating have associations with area clinics or hospitals for internship programs. Not only are internships a terrific manner to get hands on training in a clinical environment, they are also a means to fulfill the practical training requirement for the majority of programs. As a supplemental benefit, they may help graduates and students develop professional relationships in the Saraland AL health care community and assist with job placement.
Is Job Placement Help provided? You will probably wish to hit the ground running after graduation, but getting that initial job in Saraland AL in a new profession can be difficult without help. Find out if the radiographer schools you are considering have job assistance programs and what their placement rates are. Rapid and high placement rates are a good indication that the schools have substantial networks and good relationships with Alabama healthcare employers. It also substantiates that their graduates are well regarded and sought after.
Where is the College Located? For a lot of students, the college they decide on will have to be within driving distance of their Saraland AL residence. Individuals who have opted to attend classes online naturally will not have to concern themselves with the location of the campus. However, the availability of area internships will be of importance. Something to consider is that if you decide to enroll in a college that is out of state or perhaps out of your local area, you may need to pay a higher tuition. State colleges usually charge higher tuitions for out of state residents. And community colleges usually charge a higher tuition for those students that live outside of their districts.
How Large are the Classes ? Unless you are the sort of person that likes to sit way in the back of the classroom or hide in the crowd, you will probably prefer a smaller class size. Small classes enable more individual participation and one-on-one instruction. Ask the Saraland AL colleges you are considering what the average student to teacher ratio is for their classes. If practical you may prefer to sit in on one or more classes before making your ultimate decision. This will also give you a chance to talk with several of the students and instructors to get their opinions regarding the radiology technician program as well.
Does the School Accommodate your Schedule? And finally you must verify that the radiographer college you finally pick can offer the class schedule you need. This is especially crucial if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you need to schedule night or weekend classes in the Saraland AL area, confirm that they are available. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify if that is an alternative and how many credit hours or courses you would need to enroll in. Also, learn what the protocol is for making up any classes that you might miss because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Saraland X-Ray Tech School
Enrolling in the right x-ray technician college is a crucial first step toward beginning a fulfilling new career providing diagnostic medical services to patients. The suitable radiographer must be in good physical condition. X-Ray techs frequently stand for the greater part of the day and move and sometimes lift the patient to obtain the proper image. Candidates must also demonstrate a capability to pay close attention to detail and to observe the safety requirements developed to protect both the patient and the medical team. Radiology technicians work very closely with patients, other techs as well as the radiologists and other doctors. Having interpersonal skills is a must in order to have a pleasant work environment and furnish the best possible patient care. As has been addressed in this article, there are several questions that you should ask each program you are assessing prior to making your ultimate selection. This is equally true whether you enroll in an online school or commute to classes on campus. By asking the appropriate questions you can examine and compare each college so you can focus your options before making your final choice. And with the proper training and your commitment to succeed, you can achieve your goal to work as a radiology tech in Saraland Alabama.